It’s been a rough couple of years for the Philippines, but things seem to be finally improving. Millions of dollars have been lost because of COVID-19 and the recovery process is going to take several years to complete. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) is hoping it can help by giving cities and governments that host a Casino Filipino property a little financial boost.
PAGCOR to Offer Grant to Governments
Just like all industries in the Philippines, gaming has taken a massive hit from COVID-19. Casinos have been repeatedly shuttered for extended periods of time and operators haven’t been bringing in the revenue they were two years ago. PAGCOR has suffered, as well, as it not only was forced to close casinos, but couldn’t collect some of the fees and revenue it expected from the rest of the properties. It reportedly lost almost $28 million by not being able to collect fees and other financial obligations from POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator).
Despite the reduction in incoming revenue, PAGCOR is ready to open its wallet once again, according to a press release. It said yesterday that it has approved a measure to provide $678,543 (PHP 34.64 million) to cities and government entities that are involved in the Casino Filipino network. Those targets host venues that are in the network and PAGCOR routinely shares a portion of the revenue from the venues’ operations with their hosts. However, the revenue-sharing activity stopped in April of last year because of COVID-19. They were then resumed at the beginning of this year.
Money to Support Community-led Initiatives
PAGCOR paid $354 million to the Bureau of the Treasury last year to help offset COVID-19 losses and also spent around $41.5 million to build typhoon shelters. This year’s contributions have slowed slightly as the pressure from the pandemic has continued, but the regulator continues to do what it can. The money being provided now is an effort to “cushion” the blow from COVID-19, according to PAGCOR chair and CEO Andrea Domingo, and to give those host locations more funds with which they can support their own community projects.
From 2016 through the end of last year, PAGCOR distributed more than $37.84 million to the hosts of the Casino Filipino network. Those locations include Angeles City, Bacolod, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Illocos Norte, Iloilo, Laoag City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Manila, Negros Occidental, Olongapo, Pasay and Tagaytay.
The funds represent almost the regular allotment the hosts would have received if everything were operating normally in the gaming space. Domingo added in the press release, “With the approved grant of PHP34.64 million, our host cities will be able to receive financial support that is almost equivalent to their host city share allocation under full operational capacity.”